A father and son have been charged for the theft of copper wire from an AT&T cell tower in Richmond County, North Carolina.

Deputies from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) were called to the tower on Ponderosa Drive, north of the city of Hamlet, on Thursday, February 29, after being alerted to the potential cutting and theft of copper wire.

AT&T cloud
– Sebastian Moss

According to a post on the RCSO Facebook page, officers found that “wire had been cut and removed from the bottom of the tower,” while there had been “damage to the fence where it had been cut to make entry into the property.”

Using video footage collected from the area, deputies were able to identify two individuals pulling a toolbox during the night coming out of the dirt road the tower is located on. They were identified as Jerry Neal Sweeney, 45, and Jeremy Wayne Sweeney, 26, of Hamlet.

Officers visited the duo’s home on Ponderosa Drive and found one suspect in the backyard burning the copper wire. The second suspect was located inside the house, the RCSO post said.

The Sweeneys were arrested and charged with felony injury to property to obtain nonferrous metals, misdemeanor larceny, and first-degree trespass.

Jerry Sweeney was processed into the Richmond County Jail with no bond, while Jeremy Sweeney was processed and released at the magistrate’s office with a $2,500 unsecured bond.

News of the incident was first reported by the Richmond Observer.

Copper telecoms cables are a common target for thieves. Elsewhere in North Carolina, Vincent DePaul, 36, of Balsam Grove, North Carolina, faces over 50 charges relating to cable thefts in Buncombe County and Henderson County.

Earlier this week, DCD reported that four men have been arrested in West Boylston, Massachusetts, for allegedly stealing cables to sell for scrap. The quarter are said to have posed as engineers from the T-Mobile network.